University of Wisconsin - Madison

Position Vacancy ID: 85655

Working Title:MORTICIAN
Schedule - Range:06-14
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Job Summary:Under the very general supervision of the Director of the Body Donor Program, this position provides a full range of professional and technical services in support of the Body Donor Program. The program assesses and obtains human bodies that are then provided as embalmed cadavers for use in the Gross Anatomy courses for Medical, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physician Assistant students and other University programs as required. Primary responsibilities include preparing the bodies and lab for the Gross Anatomy course; the receipt and screening of death calls; assessment of body suitability; coordination of arrangements for obtaining the body; physical retrieval, transporting, embalming, storage and cremation of the body. Related duties include completing and filing required documentation by state imposed deadlines; consulting with families, funeral directors, coroners and others regarding all aspects of the Body Donor Program; and providing technical training and advice to university, hospital and funeral home personnel in the proper preservation and handling of the body. The incumbent is responsible for the proper packaging and mailing of ashes to family members or designated others meeting all federal postal requirements. Other primary duties include the dissection and medical sectioning of cadavers for preparation of specimens for use by medical teaching facilities throughout the state of Wisconsin.

On-call availability and in-state travel is required.


Goals and Worker Activities

A.25%Provide comprehensive professional service to clients and families involved in the Body Donation Program.
1.Receive calls from next of kin, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice providers or others, indicating death of a donor.
2.Determine if donor is pre-registered with the Donation Program. Explain the registration requirement, and offer any options for those not registered.
3.Assess initial suitability of body for donation including cause of death, physical characteristics, diagnosis and medical history.
4.Determine next of kin or responsible party's wishes regarding funeral services.
5.Provide technical instruction and advice to funeral directors in the embalming method needed for educational body donations.
6.Coordinate viewing requests with the coroner, adhering to state regulations.
7.Provide hospital or other facility staff direction in preparing the body for removal. Travel to the designated site and transfer remains to the UW Medical School.
B.20%Embalm donated bodies using the protocols accepted for long term preservation.
1.Prepare embalming materials using formulas developed for medical school use.
2.Customize formulas and prepare materials based on cause of death, medications in the system and other factors.
3.Document and maintain appropriate records related to the embalming process.
4.Perform the re-embalming process as required to assure the quality of the body for educational use.
C.20%Prepare specimens for use by other teaching facilities.
1.Receive and respond to requests for specimens of body parts from other teaching facilities.
2.Using an advanced understanding of human anatomy, dissect or section the body according to the exact specifications of requesting institution.
3.Prepare specimens for delivery using appropriate protocol.
4.Complete all paperwork needed for transport of the specimen. Prepare requisitions and fund transfers as required.
5.Deliver specimen. Retrieve and deliver unused material back to the UW Medical School for cremation.
D.10%Cremate dissected cadaver material in onsite crematorium.
1.Obtain cremation permit from county coroner.
2.Cremate the dissected cadaver material and retain ashes for delivery to family or other responsible party.
3.Prepare ashes for delivery to designated party.
E.10%Manage the day-to-day operations of the Body Donation Program.
1.Complete and retain all required documentation related to the donation of bodies including copies of death certificates and original cremation authorizations.
2.Keep current on all required filing deadlines and assure completion.
3.Maintain files to make information available to families, legal authorities and others as requested.
4.Maintain adequate stock of needed supplies.
5.Provide information to department administration regarding anticipated increases in expenses due to increased costs in postage, supplies or other factors.
6.Receive inquiries about the Program from potential donors, funeral directors, hospice providers and others. Explain the requirements and how the bodies are used in an educational setting.
7.Create and maintain current written information about the program and provide information as requested.
8.Continually update files and maintain the donor database.
F.10%Prepare and Monitor Gross Anatomy Laboratories.
1.Prepare bodies and immersion dissection tables prior to each class.
2.Resupply and inspect student teaching laboratories each day following use.
3.Disinfect and sanitize immersion dissection tables at the end of each course.
4.Organize and maintain prosections, museum room specimens and skeletal material.
5.Other duties as assigned.
G.5%Provide technical advice to teaching facilities in the design and management of programs using embalmed cadavers.
1.Provide advice regarding the size of facility, needed equipment, necessary ventilation and other physical plant requirements.
2.Advise on the physical lay-out of the facility to maximize efficiency and safety.
3.Provide technical advice on methods for embalming and storing bodies for educational use.
4.Provide advice on the operation of a body donor program, as requested.

Knowledge and Skills

  1. Degree in mortuary science from an accredited program.
  2. Current continuing education credits as required by the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing.
  3. Knowledge of Wisconsin Statute 155.06, Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.
  4. Ability to independently assess a body for use in education based on program need, diagnosis and physical condition.
  5. Advanced knowledge of human anatomy, chemistry, pathology, and bloodborne diseases.
  6. Ability to prepare specialized specimens through medical sectioning and dissection.
  7. Knowledge of long-term preservation techinques and ability to identify potential problems.
  8. Knowledge of embalming techniques suitable for preservation of biological specimens.
  9. Knowlege of the safe handling and disposal of hazardous compounds and infectious waste.
  10. Ability to prepare educationally sound displays for education.
  11. Knowledge of crematory operation.
  12. Knowledge of general laboratory safety requirements.
  13. Knowledge of specialized packaging and mailing requirements for sending ashes of body remains.
  14. Exceptional ability to deal with family members in a sensitive, courteous and helpful manner.
  15. Ability to interact with the public and other agency and institutional representatives in a positive, helpful manner via telephone, correspondence or in person.
  16. Knowledge of modern records management techniques.
  17. Knowledge of basic computerized record keeping and database management.